What Does Data-Driven Marketing Really Mean?

One of my favorite posters on Booth’s campus says: “50 years ago, we revolutionized finance. Now we’re on to marketing.” In applying to Booth, I had heard that “data-driven marketing” was a growing trend and that the Booth curriculum would prepare me for this new world of marketing. However, I wondered, do real companies really follow a data-centered approach to marketing? Can I be a good marketer without running crazy algorithmic models? Will Booth really prepare me for this changing world?

The answer to all of these questions: absolutely yes.

Culinary Analytics

Patrick Doyle, the CEO of Domino’s (a Booth grad and former marketer) recently came to campus and told the audience, “The highest level analytics done at Domino’s are in marketing.” The company is on the forefront of technology in the restaurant industry, launching their “Domino’s Anywhere” feature where you can tweet or text your order just by sending Domino’s a pizza emoji!

In my summer internship at PepsiCo, analytics were a huge part of the marketer’s job. Social media campaigns were only done if the results could be tracked. Brand teams received quarterly reports that gave detailed regression analytics on how different promotions and campaigns directly related to sales. So yes, companies do use data and having a good knowledge of it is extremely important as a marketer today.

Domino's CEO speaking to students at Booth
Domino’s CEO speaking to students at Booth

Marketing Technologists

While companies are placing a high value on data and analytics, this does not mean that suddenly all marketers will be replaced by coders and data scientists. In my summer internship, none of the marketers I worked with were data mining or creating regressions to predict how putting more ads on TV would drive sales. The company had employees to do that, but they were in their own department. They had data science degrees.

What marketers need is to be able to understand the analysis that these data scientists present. To be able to use the insights to enhance how they market the product and bring greater sales. In my internship, the CMO had a great saying that we should all be “marketing technologists,” someone who could use data and technological advances to better their abilities as a marketer.

Me and Chester Cheetah on the first day of my internship
Me and Chester Cheetah on the first day of my internship

Data All Around

So did Booth prepare me for the data and technological side of marketing? Absolutely yes. From classes to case competitions to extracurricular activities, I feel that Booth has prepared me extremely well for a job in this new world of marketing. Classes like Data-Driven Marketing and Digital Marketing taught me about how to analyze and interpret data. The Kilts Case Competition gave me an opportunity to use Nielsen data for the first time and actually come up with insights and recommendations based on the analysis we did.

Even my role as co-editor of The Booth Experience has taught me about data and technology, as we can use analytics to track what is bringing users to our site. All of this knowledge helped me in my internship and I know will help me in my future job as well.

What it means to be a Marketer

In my second year at Booth, I no longer wonder “what exactly is data-driven marketing?” I have a good understanding of how data and analytics affect marketing, I am ready to use it in my future career, and I excited to continue to learn more as technology constantly changes what it means to be a marketer!

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